Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sorry, but nothing good can come from winning the Home Run Derby

Watching Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge dominate last night's annual Home Run Derby, who within the Yankiverse did not feel a tingle of the loins, with our young bats fully engorged within the baseball world's sweet and grassy thicket. What GM out there wouldn't give his left billiard for a pair of upcoming sluggers like Sanchez and Judge. If Clint Frazier and Glyber Torres... (no, I don't want to say it aloud)... and if we signed Bryce Harper... (nope, won't jinx it)... let's just say, 2019 could be a very good year.

But nothing good came from last night. Nothing. As far as I'm concerned, MLB owes the Yankees 74 homers - 27 from Sanchez, 47 from Judge - along with 74 homer hollars from John Sterling. Yogi Berra used to say it made no sense to waste good hits in batting practice. Comics don't use their best jokes in the green room. Nobody ever remembers who won Miss Congeniality. It's the gritty game action that wins the pageant, not who got groped by the owner in the dressing room rehearsal.      

Last night and tonight are the midsummer version of the World Baseball Classic - Bud Selig's fever dream to earn his $15 million salary - which affects nothing but the contestants. Stat nerds annually try to debunk the Home Run Derby Curse, because they are fools. Curses exist because thinking fans can see with their own eyes the results of a Sports Illustrated cover or a romance with Jessica Simpson - events that can reduce a quarterback's nuts to the size of molecules, and the quickest way to undermine the biggest cat in the barnyard is to hang a lanyard around it that says "Home Run Derby Champion." 

Past winners include the likes of Luis Gonzalez (2001), Garret Anderson (2003) Bobby Abreu (2005) and Justin Morneau (2008.) Where the hell are they now? That's right. They're inscriptions in agate. Ken Griffey Jr. won twice (1998-99), back to back and belly to belly, as did Humanis Centepedes (2013, 2014.) Both suffered injuries and reduced production. Wally Joyner won in 1986. Where is he now? That's right. He's gone! You don't see him being mentioned as a Yankees first base option. (Though it might not be a bad idea.)


Listen, I don't know if a Derby Curse truly exists. Give me a million dollar grant from the John D. and Kathryn T. MacArthur Foundation - or the Chubb Group - and I'll get back to you. But with a nickel in my pocket, I can state what we all now in the pit of our cabbage rolls: When things are going well, it is undeniably bad juju to make note of them. You don't talk about hitting streaks. You don't even change underwear. Right now, things are going so well for Aaron Judge that the guy should sit five days in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar, so that nothing - not even gamma rays that pass through our solar system - can affect his swing. Those 47 homers he blasted has night, they were cashed in by ESPN and the city of Miami. They owe us, dammit. Those home runs belong to the Yankees. We wuz robbed of 47 home run hollars by The Master. Forty-seven hollars, baby. Nothing good comes from winning a home run derby. 

And tonight, if somebody in a Yankee hat gets hurt... I don't care if it's a cracked toenail - I'm choosing my words carefully, artistically, so that the juju gods can fully digest the implications... let me put it this way:

If anything should happen to the wrong person, well, dear juju gods, it would be the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. I'll leave it at that. 

9 comments:

John M said...

Nothing good comes from winning the Derby, but nothing bad happens, either, 98% of the time. There are two kinds of Derby winners: guys who are legit power hitters who continue power hitting, and guys who had a brief period of parking balls in the bleachers but were never destined for the Hall. You don't have to be great to win the Derby, you just have to be really good at BP for one night. The ones who fall to earth had wax wings or were starting the aging process already. Others went on to do what they were doing before: killing the ball.

Not that I care about the event when there's not a Yankee involved. I don't. But there's no Curse, no ruined swings (from one night of goofing around?). Just pointless fun for the players and the people who like to watch them do this kind of thing.

There is no "there" here. The anti-Derby stuff is just like the Derby itself. Not a story. Drink 'til Friday.

JJ in MA said...

I guess my concern with it is that it's one more potential strain, one more potential injury these guys can get, and they're too important to the Yankee future to waste in an ESPN/MLB marketing ploy.

Again, glad they had fun, and Judge was legitimately amazing, but whether it saps their power or not over the rest of the season, I can't believe it's worth even the risk of that.

Mustang said...

The larger baseball world was amazed by our rookie last night. He was fun to watch--those were not normal homers, even for BP--and he brought more pride to the Yankees than anyone has for a long time.

Anonymous said...

EL DUQUE...... I TEXTED A FELLOW YANKEE FAITH FULL LAST NIGHT, AS JUDGE WAS DOMINATING

MY TEXT READ, "FUTURE FREE AGENTS ARE GOING TO WANT TO PLAY WITH OUR COOL YOUNG STUDS, FIGURING WE ARE THE TEAM OF THE FUTURE, FOR SURE."

IN THAT RESPECT, LAST NIGHT WAS A FEATHER IN OUR CAP.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


There are problems with Baseball, as we all know. The no-pitch intentional walk is already here. The geniuses are talking about starting every extra inning with a man on 2nd base (already happening, as an experiment, in some minor league somewhere).

Binders (and the frequent misapplications of numbers within them) are also a problem, too, for some of us.

I'm not sure the HR derby matters. But it would be nice if there could be a No-Strikeout Derby, too. Since Judge has had TWO three-strikeout games in the past week, it would be nice if somehow his attention was focused on THAT . . .

Anonymous said...

HAHA....YES JOE, EXACTLY..... CAN WE CONCENTRATE ON MAKING CONTACT?

ranger_lp said...

@Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn Reminds me of a famous Bill Gallo cartoon about Dave Kingman. The year Dave was on Roger Maris' pace for hitting more than 61 home runs, Dave revusted to talk about it with reporters. The cartoon depicted that and I believe it was Basement Bertha or some other character which said "Ok, then let's talk about your strikeouts!"

Went something like that...

KD said...

I am predicting that our very own Aaron Judge will break the REAL (i.e. not juiced) 162 game season home run record of Roger Maris as a ROOKIE!!

It will be 63 home runs.

admit that you've been thinking about this.

joe de pastry said...

Maris still holds the AL record.
No juiced guy broke it.